The Retreat poses an ever growing and important question to fans of genre cinema; Are you happy to see well made versions of the exact same movie in different surrounds or are you willing to accept new and unfamiliar approaches to the path well trodden? The Retreat is a lovingly crafted, beautifully shot, and excellently acted piece of British genre cinema. Director Carl Tibbetts and his cinematographer Chris Seager present a fantastically photographed piece, showing off the beauty of the Scottish Outer Hebrides (plate shots) and Gwynedd Wales (the majority of the movie) in a glossy blue/grey palette. Actors Thandie Newton, Cillian Murphy, and Jamie Bell all deliver astute performances in their native accents. So what’s the problem you miserable bastard?
Have you seen Pacific Heights (1990)? Have you seen Dead Calm (1989)? Have you seen The Hand That Rocks The Cradle (1990)? have you seen Unlawful Entry (1992)? Hell have you even seen Saturn 3 (1980)? Well the writers of The Retreat have, and they’re big fans. Thandie Newton and Cillian Murphy are the couple with problems but who deep down really love each other, Jamie Bell is the asshole who comes along, challenges Murphy’s masculinity, has eyes for Newton, and who generally fucks things up by being psychotic. Sound familiar? Granted there’s a couple of twists towards the end that try to distance this from its predecessors, but still, it’s so familiar.
There is no doubt that there’s a high level of skill, craft, and delivery here, but I can’t say with any honesty that you remotely miss out by not seeing this film. But, in a time of so much poor filmmaking in genre cinema, such craft is welcome, no matter what the narrative.
Netflix says ★★★
Deadly Movies says ★★★